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  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    January 7, 2010
    8:00 - 11:00pm EST  

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then we'll hear from richard holbrooke. >> today the white house released an unclassified version of a report on the intelligence failures that led to the attempted bombing of a commercial airliner on christmas day. .
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christmas day. it is now clear that shortcomings occurred in three broad and compound in ways. first, although our intelligence community have learned a great deal about the al qaeda affiliate in yemen, called al qaeda in the caribbean -- in the arabian peninsula -- peninsula, we knew they saw to strike the united states and were recruiting operatives to do so. the intelligence community did not aggressively follow up and prioritize streams of information related to a possible attack against the homeland. second, this contributed to a larger failure analysis, a failure to connect the dots of intelligence that existed across our intelligence community and which together could have revealed that abdul mutallab was planning an attack.
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third, this in turn fed into shortcomings in the watch listing system which resulted in this person not being placed on the no-fly list, thereby, allowing him to board that plane in amsterdam for detroit. in summary, the u.s. government had the information scattered throughout the system to potentially on the cover this plot and disrupt the attack rather than of failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had. and that is why we took swift action in the days following christmas, including updating the terrorist watch list system and adding more individuals to the no-fly list and directing our embassies to include current visa information in their warnings of individuals with a suspected terrorist ties. today i am directing a series
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of additional corrective steps across multiple agencies. they fall into four areas. first, i am directing that our intelligence community to begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high- priority threats so these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively. not just most of the time, but all of the time. we must follow the leads that we get. and we must pursue them until plots are disrupted. and that means assigning clear lines of responsibility. second, i am directing that intelligence reports, especially potential threats to united states, be distributed more rapidly and widely. we cannot sit on information that could protect the american people. third, i am directing we strengthen the analytical process. how are and alice -- our analyst process and integrate the intelligence they receive. my director of national
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intelligence will take the lead. my intelligence advisory board will examine the longer-term challenge of sifting through vast universes' of intelligence and data in our information age. finally, i am ordering an immediate effort to strengthen the criteria used to add individuals to our terrorist watch list, especially the no- fly list. we must do better in keeping dangerous people off airplanes while facilitating air travel. taken together, these reforms will improve the intelligence communities ability to collect, share, analyze and act on intelligence swiftly and effectively. in short, they will help our intelligence community do its job better and protect american lives. but even the best intelligence cannot identify in advance every individual who would do us harm. so we need to add the security at our airports, ports and borders and through our
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partnerships with other nations to prevent terrorists from entering america. at the amsterdam airport, abdul mutallab was subjected to the same screening as other passengers. he was required to show his documents, including a valid u.s. visa. his carry-on was x-rayed. he passed through a metal detector. but it cannot detect the kind of explosives in his clothes. the screening technologies that might have detected these explosives are in use at the amsterdam airport, but not at the security check. -- he passed through. most airports in the united states do not yet have this technology. there is no silver bullet to securing the thousands of flights domestic and international. it will require significant investments in many areas. that is why, even before the
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christmas attack, we increased investments in homeland security and aviation security. this includes $1 billion in new systems and technologies that we need to protect our airports -- more passenger and baggage screening and more advanced explosive detection capabilities, including those to improve our ability to detect explosive used on christmas. these are major investments and they will make our skies safer and more secure. as i announced this week, we have taken a range of steps to improve aviation screening, including new rules for how we handle pieces and enhanced -- handle visas -- screening for passengers flying from or through certain countries. i am directing the department of homeland security take additional steps, including strengthening our international partnership to improve aviation is screening all around the world, greater use of the advance explosive detection we have, and working with the department of energy to improve the next generation of
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screening technology. there is no foolproof solution. as we develop new technologies and procedures, our adversaries will seek new ways to evade them. in the never ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step ahead. that is what these steps are designed to do. we will work with congress to ensure our intelligence and law-enforcement communities have the resources they need to keep the american people safe. i ordered these immediate reviews so we could take immediate action to secure our country. in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue a sustained and intensive effort of analysis so that we leave no stone unturned in seeking better ways to protect the american people. i have repeatedly made it clear, in public with the american people and in private with my national security team,
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that i will hold my staff, our agencies, and the people in them accountable when they fail to perform the responsibilities at the highest levels. at this stage in the review process, it appears this incident was not the fault of a single individual or organization, but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies. that is why in addition to the corrective efforts, i directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts. we will measure progress. john brennan will report back to me within 30 days and on a regular basis after that. all of these agencies and their leaders are responsible for implementing these reforms and all will be held accountable if they do not. moreover, i am less interested in passing out blame than i am and learning from and correcting these mistakes to
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make us safer. ultimately, the buck stops with me. as president, i have a responsibility to protect our nation and our people and when the system fails it is my responsibility. over the past two weeks, we have been reminded of the challenge we face in protecting our country against those bent on our destruction. while politics can obscure the hard work before us, let us be clear about what this moment demands. we are at war. we are at war against al qaeda, a far-reaching network that attacked us on 9/11, that killed 3000 innocent people and is plotting to strike again. we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. we have made progress. al qaeda's leadership has hunkered down. we have worked with partners including yemen to inflict blows against al qaeda leaders. we have disrupted plots at home and abroad to save american lives.
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we know the vast majority of muslims reject al qaeda. but it is clear that al qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations, not just in the middle east but in africa and other places, to do their bidding. that is why i directed my national security team to develop a strategy that addresses the challenges posed by these recruits. that is why we must communicate clearly to the muslims around the world that al qaeda offers nothing but a bankrupt vision of misery and death, including the murder of fellow muslims. the u.s. stands with those who seek justice and progress. to advance that progress, we have sought new beginnings with muslim communities all around the world. in gauge on the basis of mutual respect -- we engage on the basis of mutual respect for .
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we work together to fulfil the aspirations that all people share -- to get an education, to work with dignity, to live in peace and security. that is what america believes in. that is the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these extremists. here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties we cherish as americans. because great and proud nations do not hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. that is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as i am president, we will never hand them that victory. we will define the character of our country. not some small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children. that involves every american. and every elected official can do our part. instead of giving into division, let's move forward with optimism and unity that defines us as a people. now is not a time for partisanship. it is a time for citizenship. a time to work together. that is what it means to be
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strong in the face of violent extremism. that is how we will prevail in this fight. and that is how we will protect our country and has faced -- pass it safer and stronger to the next generation. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> soon after the president's statement, we heard from homeland security secretary janet napolitano and assistant to the president for counterterrorism john brennan. we will hear more about the initial report on board flight 253. hauschka and they, along with white house press secretary robert gibbs -- they took questions from reporters. this is 40 minutes. >> good afternoon.
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i want to apologize for the delay in the events that have occurred over the past couple of hours. as you know, declassifying documents takes time and we wanted to get that right. you should have which you or in your in box, two separate documents that were e-mail. the first is a summary of the white house review, which is the declassified document i spoke of a second ago. secondly, a three-page memorandum signed a while ago by the president on corrective actions. a it -- that have been ordered. we will hear from the two individuals -- secretary napolitano and john brennan, assisted to the president for a homeland security and counterterrorism. after they speak, we will spend about half an hour taking your questions.
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i know many of you had deadlines. if you need to sneak out of here, that is certainly a fine to do. and we will hear first from john. >> thank you, robert. good evening, everyone. as the president said, following the attempted terrorist attack on christmas day, he directed me to conduct a review of the watch listing system. he also directed key departments and agencies to provide their input. i want to commend the secretary napolitano, the director of national intelligence and other leaders of the intelligence community for their cooperation. every department and organization provided the necessary information. that speaks to the seriousness with which this administration takes what happens on christmas it also speaks to our determination to make sure it does not happen again.
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the reviewer had three particles -- to get the facts, to find out what happened, and to identify failures of what went wrong, and to make recommendations on corrective action so we can fix the problems. i want to address each of these areas. first, the facts. has the president described, in the weeks and months leading up to the attack, various components of the intelligence community had fragments of information about the threat posed by al qaeda. and of the specific clock of abdulmutallab. it was known -- the specific plot of october. abdulmutallab. there was a threat stream of intelligence on this recothreat. it was known, thanks to his father, that he had joined unidentified satiric -- extremists. are among the fragments of
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intelligence we have before christmas eve before he ever boarded an aircraft in amsterdam. we did know -- did not know why they were not appeased in a way that could be uncovered. that leads to the second line of inquiry. what went wrong? this was not the failure of a single individual or single organization. those errors or not the primary cause of what happened on december 25. this was a systemic failure across agencies and organizations. i want to be very clear. there has been some confusion. it has been reported we saw the same failures before 9/11. after eight years, why has it not been fixed? before 9/11, there was a reluctance for people to share information between agencies.
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different agencies were at times denied access to the critical into nations that could have stopped -- informations that could stop the 9/11 attacks. these issues have largely been resolved. that is not what happened. this is not a failure to share information. our review found the agencies had the information they need it. no agency or individual is denied access. as the president has said, this is not a failure to share intelligence. it is a failure to connect to the intelligence we have we cannot prioritize a state of intelligence -- we have a. we did not prioritize the intelligence we had. the intelligence fell through the cracks. if this happens in more than one organization. this contributed to the larger failure to connect the fragments that could have revealed the
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plots. this the fed into shortcomings in the system. it resulted in him not being placed on the watch list, thereby allowing him to board a plane in amsterdam for detroit. while the system is not broken, how the intelligence community beat the information needs to be strengthened. from how do we fix the problem? there issuing a directive to all the agencies on the corrective actions. there are more than one dozen steps all together. each is responsible for their implementation. they fall into four broad areas. he is directing that they immediately began assigning responsibility is to investigate all these on a high priority threat.
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they will be acted upon aggressively. he is treading that intelligence reports, especially those involving threats to the united states, be distributed more rapidly. he is directing the we strengthen the analytic process. the president's advisory board will examine the longer-term challenge of identifying and analyzing intelligence among the vast universe that we collect. that challenge is growing every day. the president is ordering an effort to strengthen the criteria used to add individuals to our terrorist watch list, especially the no-fly list. the president said he will hold all of us, at the staff and agencies responsible. they are but to monitor the progress. the president has directed me to
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report back within 30 days. these reforms are going to improve the ability to do the job even better, to collect and analyze and act on intelligence swiftly and intelligently. in every instance over the past year, the intelligence community has done an absolutely outstanding job in protecting the homeland and stripping plots that have been directed against us. it was in this one instance that we did not rise to the same level of competence and success. the president has told us that we must do better. i told the president today that i let him down. i am the president's assistant for homeland security and counter-terrorism. i told him that i will do better and we will do better as a team. thank you.
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>> thank you. i want to update all of you on the actions for the department of homeland security that failed the christmas day attacks in the longer term recommendations that we made to the president in our preliminary report. they lay out how we will move forward in a number of areas that are critical everett's to protect air travel. we have immediately strengthen screening requirements for individuals flying to the united states. every individual flying to the united states or anywhere in the world who has an itinerary or passport from nations that are state sponsors of terrorism is required to go through a screening. the majority of all other passengers will go through random enhanced screening.
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at airports, we have deployed additional airport law enforcement officials, the detection officers, air marshals, and canine teams among other security measures, both seen and unseen. i want to express our thanks to the public for their patience with the security measures i want to thank the department of homeland security personnel who have been engaged on a day basis to implement than since christmas. -- them since christmas. there needs to be a re- evaluation and modification of the criteria and process used to create the terrorist watch list. this will involve the department of homeland security and other members of the intelligence community. the effort will include
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evaluating process by which names are put on the no-fly list. let me pause here moment to say that the department of homeland security will -- works day in and day out with other members of the intelligence community. these are dedicated men and women. all of them are dedicated to the safety of the united states. we simply had a systemic failure. dhs uses the list as a cornerstone of our efforts to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding airplanes bound for the united states. we will establish a partnership on aviation screening technology between dha and the department of energy and national laboratory. this will allow the government to use the expertise of the
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national laboratory to develop new and more effective technologies so that we can react not only two known threats but also to proactively anticipate new ways by which terrorists can aboard our efforts. -- board our airplanes. we will have greater imaging technology to detect explosives like the ones used in the christmas day attack. we currently have 40 machines deployed throughout the united states and 2010 -- and in 2010 we will deploy 300 more. the gsa does not conduct screenings overseas. the christmas day incident underscored the screening procedures at foreign airports are critical to our safety here. we have to do all that we can do to encourage foreign authorities to utilize the same enhanced technologies for aviation security.
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there were passengers from 17 countries aboard flight 253. this is an international issue, not just one about the united states. we have to strengthen the present incapacity of aviation law enforcement on top of the measures we have already taken. this includes increasing the number of federal air marshals. we will begin by deploying law enforcement officers to help fill this important role. working with the secretary of state, we need to strengthen international security measures and standards for aviation security. security measures abroad affect our security here at home. the deputy secretary of dhs and other top officials have been on a multi country, multi consonant missinion.
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later this month, i'll be travelling to spain to meet with my european counterparts for what to be the first in a series of meetings with counterparts that i believe will lead to a broad consensus on new international aviation security standards and procedures. these recommendations that i just described are important areas importantdhs and other agencies -- -- important areas where dhs and other agencies are working. these are changes that will help us prevent another attack from ever advancing as far as the ones it on christmas day. thank you. >> son used by using enhanced screening technology. are you using the body imaging systems as the primary method of screening? >> we the get security as a
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system of lasers. -- we look at security as a system securitylayeof layers. it is behavior detection, it is canines, it is increase law enforcement presence, it is a series of layers that we will be adding to the security we already have at our domestic airports in the wake of this instance. >> you said that 300 additional scanners will be deployed in 2010. was that planned before this event? how much will it cost? >> it was planned before this. there was already finding that the congress had appropriated for the tsa.
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with respect to how many more, we will be working on that as part of our ongoing review. i would caution you not to focus solelyñi on that technology. ñithis is a series of layers tht we will be enhancing. >> both of you and the president mentioned the word accountability. all of three he made the point that it was not just the mistake of one person. who is being held accountable now? >> as you heard the president now on a number of occasions, including today, take responsibility for the system that we have,. that is what the president led these individuals to conduct these reviews, to see where we fell donwn, and how we can plug
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the holes. the focus is on the timely completion of that review and to implement his corrective action as quickly as possible. we not have any announcement other than that today. the buck stops with the president. the team under stustands that it is a dynamic process. it will continue over the course of the next 30 days to ensure what has been outlined by all these different agencies, acknowledging their responsibility for the attacks. they have a knowledge that they will take the corrective action that is necessary. i would mention the billion dollars the president mentioned
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was retained in the recovery act. >> the president referred to an unknown terrorists. from what i understand, he was a known extremist. what was the most stunning thing that you believe came out of the review? >> we knew that he had departed from nigeria and was in yemen. we knew from that jam of the information that he was an extremist and had the tennessees. -- and had those tendencies. [unintelligible] we knew about him. we know about this other plot developing. >> there [inaudible]
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>> what was the most shocking thing that you found out? >> that was an extension of al qaeda core. it is one of the most lethal and concerning the d. the fact they have moved forward to attack is on the homeland -- we have a strategic sense of where they are going. yet taken a lesson. -- we are taking that lesson. >> i have been following up on that. the tactic of using an individual to implement an attack as opposed to a large conspiracy or a multi person conspiracy such as we saw on
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9/11 -- that is something infects -- affects intelligence and emphasizes a renewed importance on how different intelligence is integrated and analyzed and streams are follow through. it will impact how we improved airport security around the world. >> was there an outside contract for security enhancement? what it is lacking is that you do not give the motivation of what they want to do it. >> the screening was done by dutch authorities. if they did the screening. the luggage was screened.
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it was done by dutch authorities. >> what was the motivation? you never hear what you find out about why. >> al qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and 110 slaughter of innocents. what did they have done over the past decade is to attract individuals and use them for these types of attacks. he was motivated by a sense of religious drive. a guide has deserted is long and has corrected the concept of -- al qaeda has deserted islam and has corrected the concept to their own. >> you are saying it was religion? >> it was because of al qaeda that uses the banner of religion in a perverse way. >> why? >> it is a long issue.
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>> he still have not explained why. >> let me clear of a couple of things but of what was learned while this was under way. there are sources suggesting that additional an affirmation came to light after the flight took off -- additional information came to light after the flight took off. >> in stipple, his name did not appear on any terrorist watch list. nothing pinged to keep them off the plane. while in the air, customs in detroit has access to the entire data base but a as we now know, and that is the large mega database that has five and a thousand names in it. -- 500,000 names in it.
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they were ready when they were landed to question him about that. >> the terrorist watch list did not have his name on it. >> why was the director about to take leave after the incident? >> when the incident occurred on christmas day, a number of people came into their offices and focused on it immediately. i was in constant contact. [unintelligible] he was scheduled to go on leave to meet his son. he asked me whether not he should cancel the trip. i told them he deserted the vacation. he needs to be a this them. i was the one who told him he should go out there.
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our review has looked at what inspired the -- happened there. [unintelligible] we were in constant contact with one another throughout the time. >> when did the first note that aqat had been sentenced to strike the homeland? how early? >> in the intelligence, over the past several years, it has been aspirational. they have said things. it has promoted a certain fview. all the activities were happening in yemen. it was aspirational. we saw there was a mounting interest in trying to get individuals to carry out attacks. in hindsight, it gives you much
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better opportunity. we saw it developing. at the time, we did not know they were talking about sending him to the united states. >> your first recommendation is to assign priority to lead. it seems out of the basic premise of any intelligence. i am sure people are thinking, that is the reform? >> we are having judiciary information throughout the communities and increased capabilities. there are different organizations involved. it is clearly understood who has the lead on it. most times the cia and dhs are working it. we want to make sure that each one takes the lead. >> you mentioned intelligence
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sharing before 9/11. before 9/11, a commission report came out about connecting the dots. there was a pledged then to do better on connecting the dots i am wondering why from the post- 9/11 commission standpoint why dots were not connected. when you say you will improve analysis. how is it like to happen this time when it did not happen that time? >> analysis has improve steadily. we have an amazing track here in the united states. we are identifying these plots early. we are preventing those types of attacks in every instance. what we want to do is make sure the rates are even higher. in the past, you had dots in separate databases. they were separated from one another and were not connected from a network standpoint.
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there is better access. more employees have more access to the dots that comment. that is the challenge, making sure we can leverage the access to those dots. >> the president mentioned a major investments forthcoming. can we expect more investment beyond that billion dollars? how are we going to pay for it? they are talking about raising airline security fees. >> it is premature to make a statement. part of the ongoing review the we will undertake in the coming days will have them. >> there is more money that will likely be requested? >> i think it is premature to put a number on it. iwe will be making recommendations to the president on what needs to be done at domestic airports.
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he was screened at an international airport. it is the international air environment that we need to work on. that is why we have undertaken is very rapid reach out around the globe to say this is an international issue. this affects the traveling public and people around the world. these terrorists do not discriminate when they get ready to take down in flames. that is a very important part of the process. >> [inaudible] >> if there is time. >> he referred to the fort hood a massacre. why [inaudible] he is a visible advocate role and advocating for terrorism
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this is not create a higher sensitivity to the kind of things so visible? how much does that disturb you? were you briefed about the possibility of explosives being hidden in garments or clothing? >> we were very concerned about what else he might be doing here. that is why they are making an effort after that to take a look at what else he might be trying to accomplish. he was a nigerian that came to yemen and then came over here. it indicates there is a serious sense of purpose and al qaeda. they want to carry out attacks him in the united states. >> are you satisfied that the intelligence community rose up and applied what they learned about ford put it?
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>> they have already taken those corrective steps. president obama has directed several reviews of instances. this one has been a preliminary report. as far as being able into bringing in issue all the way through. we have already done that with the fort hood report. we are into taking those changes. we are doing that here. that'll be the start of the process. we will be able to diagnose and take corrective steps so we can make yousure that this doesn't happen. i went to study every after the attack. -- to saudia arabia after the attack. we are continuing to work with thosothers about those techniqu.
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we are trying to stay a step ahead. they are looking at all these different types of techniques. what we need to do is continue to advance and involve. that is what they are doing. are you concerned that it is being overcome by the sheer volume? >> [unintelligible] what happens last month in yemen was able to address the growing threat of al qaeda there. i think the national security is an element is well served by the changes that had taken place over the last couple of years as
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well as what we are trying to do here in this administration to make sure we are able to use the information that exists to suggest the parties. @@@@@@@@ú ú w,e/o)t tt>zúúpgttú) >> one of the most alarming things you've found is the strength of this al qaeda cell. what else have you found? >> they have taken a number of different paths to carry out an attack. a suicide bomber, concealed within his clothes -- an explosive device similar to the one used by abdulmutallab. they are also carrying out attacks on our embassy in 2008. we need to work very closely with our temenyemeni partners al
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partners . >> the fact they were able to bring a person into the execution phase and exit with them on an airport. that is one of the failures. we saw this is taking place. we were not focused enough on making sure we were identifying what would be used to carry out the attack. >> have you found anything to suggest the terrorists specifically chose detroit to send a message to large populations? when the president talked about the concern about a loan recruits -- lone recruits, he talked about wanting to have a special effort to break those kinds of appeal. is anything you'll be doing
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specifically to the muslim populations? >> the department of homeland security has set an outreach efforts into different populations. we are trying to build bridges of there is a good communication. we need to look at strengthening those activities. we also need to look at the whole issue of what is called counter-radicalization. how do we stop them from being radicalized to the point the one to blow up others on a plan.
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how do we communicate better american values and so forth? how do we work with our allies like the uk on this? that has been a major topic of conversation between us and the u.k. over the prior month. you are right to point out there is a bigger issue here, which is, how do we get in the process before somebody become so radicalized that they are ready to commit this kind of attack? >> did you find any reason to suspect that flight was chosen because it was headed to detroit given the large arab american population? >> i think it would not be prepared for comment right now. >> focusing on the international issue, yemen as well as africa, since this attack, has anyone
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sincfrom them come to the white house to talk to you about this? >> we have been in regular contact with the yemen government. i spoke to the present after this event took place but the foreign minister is going to be coming here. there will be a number of directions to our people. >> i understand there is no extradition from yemen. is that an issue, particularly with the reading of terrorists there? is that on the table with the government? >> -- if there is a reason to do that, we will do that. >> some of the national security committee claims that the focus needs to be placed on the continent of africa. we talked about some molly.
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they are breeding them in africa. they are going to somalia. they are going straight from there into year. have any the talk to the africans? >> let me just say that we have already deployed officials from our department around the globe. they will be going to africa as well. they need to be part of the solution. this is a global travel issue. there is active engagements there. >> there are many different recruits in africa pitt. we have had a robust dialogue with african countries and the leaders. we see that is an area that al qaeda preys upon.
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they are looking in africa for recruits. this is something that we are very concerned about. >> it is just one of many elements of the u.s. government. they are engaging with african countries and leaders in a way to address this issue from the standpoint of cooperation and security. >> is there any information that the government has been able to analyze and you have -- had prior to christmas but had not been able to analyze yet? >> there is a lot of information that is being realized and reevaluate. this gives us new insight into methods and other types of things to d. we are pursuing a number of
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leads. >> is what was released today redacted version of what was being presented to the president? was that the delay? >> the delay was in declassifying documents. >> is the system already in place [inaudible] was at one of the things you were talking about? [inaudible]
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>> as we move to strengthen security, we always had this balance of issues with privacy here in the united states. we train officers on how to properly conduct a pat down. they do it at other countries around the world. parted the initiative is to make sure that that kind of training incapacity is built in continents around the globe. you are right it is likely that there'll be increased use of pat down as well. >> i am confident that we have taken a variety of corrective measures. it would have allowed this to identify him. he was a dignified as a in
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extremist. we have been working day in and night since this attack to scour all the databases abroad. we are making those correlations. i am confident they have done that clearly. >> thank you. >> you can read the white house report on the christmas day and attempted bombing on our web site -- c-span.org. you can was to watch -- also watch on demand video. coming up next on c-span, former
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cia agents to discuss u.s. policy in afghanistan. then richard holbrooke. later, we will hear from president obama and homeland security secretary janet napolitano about the report on at the christmas day attempted bombing of northwest flight 253. here is some of what we are covering on c-span tomorrow. at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, the u.s. institute of peace and looks at afghanistan's election process and the parliamentary elections planned for may. at 12:15, the alliance for health reform a examines the health insurance exchanges included in both the house and senate health care bills. you can watch both events live here on c-span and data [unintelligible] c- -- at c-span.org.
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>> there is just two weeks to enter this do you contest. just create a 5 to 8 minute video on one of our countries biggest strengths or challenges the country is facing. enter before midnight january 20. winning entries will be shown on c-span. >> now a discussion on president obama's strategy in afghanistan. the middle east policy council opposes this 2.5 our event. >> a good morning. thank you for coming. i am happy to welcome you to the 59th -- you are not hearing me? are you hearing me out? yes. i am of the middle east policy
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council. it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 59 that meeting in our series of capitol hill conferences. -- the 59th meeting. we have an excellent panel. before we do that, i would like to take a few minutes to talk about the middle east policy council. for 28 years, we have been trying to promote better understanding of u.s. interest in the middle east. we do that in three ways. the first is our quarterly journal, which is an edited by ann enjoys for 25 years. -- anne joyce for 25 years. the sec it is our conference series. -- the seconed is our conference series. we conduct four of them a year.
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we always have the transcript served as the first article in our quarterly journal. even before that, you will be able to read the transcript of this next week and hear the audio and video on our web site -- www.mepc.org. our third program is a public outreach program have, which includes commentary for the media, but the most important element is our teacher workshop program. a program in which barbara travels around the country and helps high school teachers, to middle school and elementary school teachers to learn how to teach about the battle east and islam better. -- about the middle east and his love better. she reaches 1500 teachers per
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year and 150,000 students per year with that program -- to show them how to teach better. think about subscribing to our journal. now, today, we are here to discuss afghanistan. the president has made his decision about the way forward. he made it in a deliberate way, during advice from people lose views differed. instead of choosing a more narrowly focused counterterrorism strategy, he chose to surge additional forces to afghanistan and pursue our counterinsurgency strategy. we have people on the panel who agree with it and people who disagree and question it. there are issues concerning the partners we have to work with in
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afghanistan and pakistan and the train and the demography. -- and the terrain. and we have already lost 1000 men and women in this war. we have spent $250 billion dollars. we will probably spend another $1 trillion. we will ask the panel to discuss this today. i am going to introduce all four of our panelists first, because i think it will be faster. there is a more extensive biography of each one of them on the the side of your invitation. i will touch on the highlights of these people. burruce reidel, who is at the brookings institution and a former c.i.a. officer of who has also served in the department of defense and the national security council and has been a
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senior adviser to three american presidents on middle eastern questions and terrorism and political transition and conflict resolution. at the request of president obama, he chaired an interagency review to consider our policy towards afghanistan-pakistan this spring. . . this, bruce is an author, whose latest book is called "the search for al qaeda" which was published by brookings in 2008 and will be out in paperback in about two months. then we mrs. have peter bergen, who i think is known to many of you as a cnn national security expert and an expert on al qaeda, he has many other positions as well, for example at new york university center for law and security. and has worked for other media outlets as well.
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as cnn, for example, discovery channel and national geographic and also has been an adjunct professor at the kennedy school of law at harvard for the last year. he has many books, has been translated into 18 languages, and the other is "the osama bin laden i know," an oral history of al qaeda's leader, which came out in 2006. and our third speaker to my immediate left is frank anderson, my colleague and the president of the middle east policy council. who has been spent 27 years in the united states government, working on middle eastern issues an many of those years in the middle east and who retired in 1995 as the chief of the near east south asia division of the central intelligence agency and since that time, he's been providing consulting services to corporations.
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on middle eastern issues. and finally, to my far right, there is mark sageman, an independent researcher on terrorism, the founder of sageman consulting and the director of research at artist and a consultant for rti international. he has consulted for hour government, many branches of our government, foreign governments, the new york police department, he holds academic positions at georgetown university and the university of maryland. and he served in the central intelligence agency from 1984 to 1991, spending 1987 to 1989 in islamabad. running the u.s. unilateral programs with the afghan mujahadeen. also, marc is an author. his last two books is understanding terrorist networks and "leaderless job." this is an excellent panel,
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which reflects differing points of view on this issue, so without any further ado, let me ask bruce to come to the podium. gentleman. >> thank you for that very generous and kind introduction. it's a pleasure to be here. i've had the privilege of speaking to this forum before and it's always a great honor to be here, especially in a magnificent room like this. let me begin with a disclaimer. although i was the chairman of the president's strategic review of policy towards afghanistan and pakistan last winter and spring, he lived up to his commitment to me, temporary duty and i was freed in the beginning of april of 2009. i am not a spokesman for the united states government. please do not regard my remarks has in any wave representing the views of either the president or the u.s. government. i speak only for myself.
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that said, what i would like to do is review for up very briefly the key conclusions of the review that i chaired, particularly on the substance of afghanistan, al qaeda, and a bit on pakistan, and then spend most of my time talking about the way forward and where we go from here, and what we can expect in the months ahead. briefly put, president obama inherited a disaster in afghanistan. a war that should have been won and finished in 2002 was not. instead of going of a our enmy relentlessly and remorselyleslys we lost our attention and drifted off to the mesopotamian valley. the consequence was our enemy was allowed to regroup and recover. the afghan state that we tried to rebuild was gravely handicapped from the beginning.
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al qaeda was able to reestablish a safe haven, a sanctuary along the border between pakistan and afghanistan. and pakistan itself, a country of 170 million people, with the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, became increasingly and significantly destabilized by the spillover from afghanistan. let me look at the pieces just for a minute. al qaeda. in eight years of struggle against al qaeda, we have succeeded in moving its core leadership from kandahar, afghanistan, to a location completely unknown. believed to be, believed to be about 100 kilometers away, somewhere in pakistan. but the truth is, despite the largest manhunt in history, we don't have a clue where osama bin laden is.
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we haven't had eyes on target since tora bora. we hear his voice, with you know he's there, but we haven't a clue where he is. that makes the whole issue of trying to establish how critical and influential he is in al qaeda today all the more complex. for analysts to understand. what we do know is that this al qaeda core has successfully embedded itself in what i call a syndicate of terrorist organizations in pakistan. the old of a began taliban, the new pakistan taliban, groups like josh mohammed, this is not a monolith and al qaeda is a very, very small part of a much larger syndicate. it has no central direction, it has various different agendas. but one thing stands out. they cooperate with each other. on a practical level and so far, none of them have been willing
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to turn on high value target number one. in the last year and a half, starting under the bush administration, which deserves credit for building the program, we have begun to put significant pressure on al qaeda in pakistan through the use of the drones. the obama administration has escalated the use of the drones to about one attack a week. but as we saw in khost, the al qaeda core remains undefeated. they remain resilient and deadly. if in fact the khost operation was the work of a triple agent as many now seem to thinking, triple agent operations are extraordinarily complex and difficult. this demonstrates the enemy
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we're dealing with is a very sophisticated and deadly one. i won't spend a lot of time on the situation in afghanistan. bob woodward was nice enough to allow all of us to have the opportunity to read about it in depth. if you haven't read t i urge you to do so. i would only highlight to you one point. it's in the appendix. when he talks about the detention facilities in afghanistan. and he in essence says the detention facilities in afghanistan are no longer under the control of the nato-isaf coalition. that as a practical matter, those detention facilities are now operated internally by al qaeda and taliban and that is where the most radicalization process of al qaeda new operatives is going on in afghanistan today. i would submit to you in a
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counterinsurgency, when you've lost control of the prisons, where you put captured insurgents, you are in deep, deep trouble. and turning that around will be a very difficult issue. but it is not a hopeless issue. afghanistan 2010 is not afghanistan 1980. we are not the soviet union, and we do not face a national upricing, like the soviet union faced. when we fought against the soviets in afghanistan, we had the benefit that virtually the entire afghan population was sympathetic to us. uzbeks, pashtuns. the taliban insurgency as aexpires to be that, but is in fact a pashtun community. the good news for us, the majority of afghans are not pashtuns. and even a majority of pashtuns do not want to see a return to
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the medieval hell that mullah omar created in the second half of the 1990's. smart policies can still reverse the momentum here. just a word about pakistan. pakistan is in the midst of an extraordinarily difficult transition, from military dictatorship to democracy. we should support this transition enthusiastically, but we should recognize this is pakistan's fourth attempt at doing so. you have to believe in the triumph of hope over expectation, to expect pakistan will get there, but it is in hour interest to encourage them to do so, because the pakistani military establishment over the years has proven incapable of running the country, and has developed extensive, intimate ties with the syndicate of terror that i talked about that runs along the borderlands and
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now deep into the heartland of pakistan. for a variety of reasons, mostly dealing with india, the pakistani military establishment believes it must maintain at least parts of those relationships. in the last year, we have seen part of the jihaddist frankenstein in pakistan actually turn against its old master and today, pakistan is witnessing the most serious political violence in the country's history. it is bordering on civil war. in many ways. the good news here is that the pakistani people seem to increasingly come to the conclusion that their freedoms and their way of life is truly threatened by this jihaddist monster. that wakeup is the best news we've seen in pakistan in a long time. where do we go next?
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well, the first thing i would stress is we cannot delink afghanistan and pakistan. in fact, we cannot delink afghanistan from its water regional environment. if we are to succeed in afghanistan, whatever success means, it must be done within a larger, regional environment. we will need to find ways to encourage all of afghanistan's neighbors to help in trying to stable highs this country, and we will need to get other countries to help us to stabilize and solidify civilian control in pakistan. the president has embarked upon what i would call a very bold gamble, and there are no gun toes of success. -- guarantees of success. this strategy requires a very delicate interplay of military, political, diplomatic and economic activity, and all must be coordinated together to
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willed a synthesis -- build a synthesis, which brings about what we want to have happen. it will cost a great deal. an american soldier deployed to afghanistan costs about one million dollars per person per year, and there's no economy of scale. if you send more, it's not cheaper. it gets more expensive. it will also cost in blood and in lives. the key in the long term, for whether we succeed, is whether we can build up an afghan national security force, a combination of army, police, and local militias, that can, for the long term, contain insurgencies in afghanistan. including the taliban, but potentially other insurgencies in the future. of afghan states have been able to do that in the past. it is a myth that afghanistan is
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an ungovernable space. that's bad history, and bad understanding of the situation. but it's going to be extraordinaril&#.@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ >> worse than that the perpetrators were caught and they got away with it. the legitimacy of the afghan government in the eyes of the afghan people and maybe more importantly in the eyes of europeans that are sending their daughters and sons to fight there has been severely crippled. if the president's strategy
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fails, i suspect we'll look back and say the election dealt us a fatal blow. but we must persevere in any case and see if we can't work around it. now. the president's decision is in my view the best of some very bad options. in many ways he really only had three. option one, was to cut and run. we can call it all kinds of things. downsize the mission, reorient the mission. nobody would see it as anything other than once more the united states is packing up its bags and leaving us to deal with a failed intervention. the second alternative was to stay where we were, with exactly the forces and equipment and the
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tactic that is we had. and americans are rightly afraid that afghanistan is going to turn into a quagmire. but i got bad news for you. we're already in a quagmire. and that is why the option of staying where we are was unacceptable. and when you're waist-deep in the big muddy, you can't say i hope we won't get into the swamp. we're in the stwam. and we have to find a way -- swamp, we have to find a way to do it better. fime final words about pakistan. while afghanistan is very hard, in many ways pakistan is even harder yet. we're trying to change the strategic direction of a country. it is a country that is in -- is more important in every way than afghanistan. trying to get pakistan back on a
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healthy course is vital not just for americans and afghans but for indians and chinese and for iranians and for people around the world. for 60 years, the united states has had a polls towards pakistan that has gone wildly between love affair and divorce. and on some occasions we have been madly in love with pakistan's leaders. and we have turned our eyes away from their faults and thrown money at them with no accountability. other years we have in bitter divorces and cut off interests, even those in our interest. and pakistan has come to the conclusion that america is not a
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reliable ally because america has not been a reliable ally. what america needs to do with pakistan is a policy of constancy and consistency and of jadgejooling and supporting and helping and correcting and screaming at engagement. at all times and at all levels. bearing in mind that we should always keep the civilian government at the top of the agenda of who we deal with. >> and the state -- the stakes in afghanistan and pakistan today are enormous. they're enormous not just in south asia but enormous for americans. and this is the place from which the attack of september 11th was planned and coordinated. recent events have underscored the risks we continue to run.
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and they play have been orchestrated in yemen this time but the led of the snake, as far as we know, remains in pakistan and afghanistan. but the stakes are also enormous for this president. wars consume presidency. and this is now america's longest war and it is bound to consume this presidency as well. and the president's advisors and many of whom particularly those that worry about domestic issues and health care and rebuilding the badly damaged american economy, for good reason, do not want to see america bogged down in an endless war in afghanistan. that's what they inherited and that's what they have to fix in the three years ahead that they still have. thank you so much for your attention.
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>> thank you for the invitation to speak and be on this distinguished panel. i wanted to start with data about what afghans think about afghanistan because there's much discussion about what we think, i think it is helpful to take into account their opinions. and there have been countrywide polls by all sortsdz of organizations, the international republic institute and bbs news and asia society. they're conducted nationwide and conducted every year starting in 2005. the results are pretty surprising to people that think that the afghan project is going south. when asked what is your view of
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the united states and afghanistan? according to the bbs, 68% of afghans think that -- the united states and afghanistan is either doing a fair, good or excellent job. when asked the same question about nato staff, 78% of afghans say that nato is doing a fair, good or excellent job. when asked would you be prefer to be ruled by the current government, 82% say the current government and 4% say the taliban. that's not surprising because they have had previous rule by the taliban. 0e7 taliban usually gets % support. who is the threat to your security, 8% say the united states and 82% say the taliban.
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is the government doing a good job? in 2009 71% said yes. and was it mostly good, again, according to the bbs, was it mostly good or very good that the united states overthrew the taliban. this is last year. 69% say yes. the final and perhaps most astonishing figure, what is your view of the united states military? this is last year, from the bbs. 63% strongly support or somewhat support the u.s. military in afghanistan. i think those numbers are important when we have this discussion. the after fans want this to work. they're not opposed to international imposes -- the same organizations routinely also poll in pakistan. to those that say you can't trust polling data in afghanistan, the same organizations poll in afghanistan and consistently find it to be one of the most anti-american countries in the world. i believe both.
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i think pakistan is anti-american consistently and afghanistan remains, numbers have dropped but we're in 60%, which we're conducting counterinsurgency. what is the doctrine, it is the center of gravity of the population. given that, the population is at least powerful more on our side, i think there are grounds to think this is going to be a successful effort. as you know, it is -- this is the least resource, postworld war ii construction effort. we spent 18 times more for capital and -- and in kosovo compared to what we did in afghanistan. we got what we paid for. we did ton the cheap and we know what the result is. let me just -- having given you data points, let me make 7 oar 8 quick points. about -- about what we're doing in afghanistan because there -- i think there are myths out there and bruce april ably addressed soviet issue. this is not a vampire.
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this idea should be retired at the graveyard of cliches. all sorts of empires have gone into affing but unlike, most of those other invasions, the afghans do want us to perform and to compare us, our -- our occupation to the soviets is poor history on so many levels. bruce mentioned there was a fact that there was a cund witt insur regulars. -- insurrection. every ethnic group was involved. and it was calculated that at any given moment, there 250,000 approximately, full-time soldiers on the battlefield fighting the soviets. if you take the largest number and the taliban full-time soldiers at 20,000 we're facing a small insurgency compared to what the soviets faced. this will not be -- be a vietnam. this is a crazy comparison. it play be an afghanistan, that's separate but it won't be vietnam. and m.b.a. was 5,000 army and
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they had -- it was a major -- a major problem for the united states. at the height of the violence in vietnam, 154 american soldiers had been killed every four days. that's the number that were killed last year in afghanistan. it is policy analogy that doesn't work. and the other thing that bruce touched on --ed idea na afghanistan is not a nation state is ridiculous. in 1747, the federation was founded, the beginning of afghanistan as nation. that makes it an older nation than the united states. what the problem has been in afghanistan is not a lack of nationhood as an idea, it is that generally speaking it has had a weak central state. there's nothing wrong with that. i'm trying to impose a top down, central state, it is part of our problem here. i think. sort of rhetted it that,ed most popular institution in afghanistan scoring just -- enormously high numbers is the
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afghan national army, can is obviously our ticket out building that up. when asked which institution do you most admire, 82% say the afghan national army, which is seen as not operating in any ethnic, in any ethnic interest and is seen as, an institution that is really doing -- a -- good work. the cory comment view is afghanistan is too hard or too violent. this is also completely ridiculous. you're like -- more likely to be murdered in the united states in 1991 than killed in the war in afghanistan today. i'm going to elaborate that because it is a surprising finding. the murder rate in the united states in 1991, 24,000 -- there were 24,000 murders in 1991 in the united states. population, let's say, roughly 260 million. and last year in the violence in afghanistan, something like 2,000-plus afghans died in the violence. the population is roughly 30 million. do the math. you're basically as likely to be
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murdered in 1991 than you are to be killed in afghanistan today. which is not to say there isn't a problem. you're also 20 times more likely to be killed as a civilian in iraq. this is not iraq, or anything close to it. in iraq, the violence peaked and 2,000 civilians died in an entire year in the violence in afghanistan and the populations of the countries are the roughly the same. the other idea is afghans are reexistent to foreigners and 60% view the united states military favorably. and why shouldn't it be a success other than the fact that the population is on our side. a very common polling question is what is you're view of the future? at the tail end of the burks at the middle of the recession, i'm surprised 17% had a favorable view. you ask afghans the same question, 40% are able to view the future. that's what was a surprising
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answer given the fact we know the bad things and the most corrupt country and the drug problem and rising insurgency. the reason afghans had that answer is because this all looked better than what they lived through. can you think of a country in history, that lived through the soviet occupation and a com misgovernment and then the tall pan. this is a pretty bad combination. each one of these would be devastating to countries. even though we know what the problems have existed in afghanistan still what is going on today is certainly much better than the past. and 4.5 million ref gees returned. this was an important number. 14 refugees left as a result of the occupation and civil war. almost none returned. just maybe several hundred thousand if you're generous. refugees don't return to places they don't think have a future. and afghans think afghanistan doesn't have a future. many in squools, including girls obviously, when asked do you have more freedom than under the taliban and recent polls? 0e% said yes.
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so, afghanistan, let's say wisconsin we solve afghanistan, there's still pakistan, which is already discussed but there are some very, there's no 9/11 in pakistan. but the -- the cumulative 9/11 is happening. if you take together abhutto, who is the most popular politician in pakistan in history, and would have scored a landslide victory in the election and take that together with the attack of cricket which is a religion, you take together the 17-year-old being nothinged by the taliban on a video that was widely distributed in pakistan and several thousand civilians have died this year in the pro r-province alone and you take that together and you find that pakistanis support suicide bombing and the taliban and al qaeda is craving. for instance, 33% of soldiers
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suicide bombing was okay, several years ago. and in certain circumstances. that number has dropped to 5%. so the -- the pakistani operations in wiz sear stan are there with the support of the pakistani people. they can't conduct a war in their own country, without the support of their own population. they didn't have that and the prayings in north and south wiz sear stan these were operations to satisfy the united states. the operation today is a real operation. the operation in swat, it has been successful, it play not have been to american standards. so pakistan is changing. will they go after the afghan taliban, who snowe know shs but the enemy of perfect is not okay. what we're seing in pakistan is probably the closest alignment between american strategic objectives and pakistani strategic objectives since the soviets invaded in 1979. two final points.
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advocates, you know, the train left the station but i think it is important -- because the president already paid the decision but advocates of doing less, the a run option, that bruce mentioned or doing it lighter, in various forms, have to answer really two questions. one, we bakely done this already twice. we have already the do nothing option which is closing the embassy in 1989 and zeroing out one of the poorest countries in the world. and into that vacuum steps tall lan and al qaeda. we have done the do it light option. which is bush's i do logical version of nation building and we got what we pay for. the taliban and al qaeda, this time closely idealogical and tacticly. and the final point. this -- i think that we could define down some of our goals in afghanistan in an important way, based on what the after fans actually want. the afghans don't necessarily want a legitimate government. we want legitimate governments, as a desirable goal.
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but they haven't had much experience, the taliban didn't have -- they brought security and -- the afghans are not expecting a kind of ultracapable ultralegitimate g. what they are expecting is security. i think the newer bomber plan will deliver that. and -- and once -- once the final piece of polling data is, what -- when asked what is your principal concerns afghans said 30% is security. 4% said corruption. and so, the new plan, i think can begin to deliver security. after all, why did the taliban come to power. and the one good they did was security. if we could deliver security and then other things in addition which we will. and then we, that's a plan for a real progress in afghanistan. thank you. 6 [applause]
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>> let me repeat tom's words of thanks for coming. president in the middle east policy council role and in the interest of time i'll get right at this. bruce and i were speaking as i came in, and -- and remembering that -- that in some form or another i been in -- engaged in or working on afghanistan for 20 -- 27 years. and i probably read everything that comes out, at least in the english language on the subject. i have recently traveled there and will again. i suppose i have become an
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expert. and from the point of view of policy prescriptions, the more i know, the less i understand. and -- and i must say, that in 1982 i had -- easy ex-plan nations for what united states ought to do in affing, they're much less -- easily at hand now. afghanistan is a -- a disly -- disly km flex place. it is geopolitically complex. the relationship with afghanistan and -- its other neighbors is almost impossible to easily fix or even describe. it is -- it is culturally and politically complex in ways that every time i look at the place, i find another level of social organization. that i didn't know before.
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about before. in this complexity, and -- i'm going to go to share -- to n.p.r. and a development activist in afghanistan who said, you can't analyze it. you have to experience it to the point you develop intimacy. and -- and in that intimacy, numbers are not -- often useful, it is just repeated. and experience and reflection. and my experience -- and reflection notice bring me to a couple of memories. one of them comes surprisingly not from a geopolitician or government person, but a. psychology book in the 1960's called games people play. and one of the games that people play is let's you and him fight. that is in my government experience -- it was the -- the essential fame of the cold war.
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and we fought by proxies. and it was -- it was let you and him fight. >> afghanistan, every time it is invaded, every time it interacts with people or sfates from the outside, there's a complex game of let's you and him fight that goes on. and in order not to be drawn into it, once again, you have to develop intimacy. and my sources for intimacy -- and understanding are these that i want to point out today. yoof any prescriptions are interestingly a pe et and a journalist and a development activist and a wanderer. the poet is rudd yard kipling. there's so many of us that have been involved in it. we have all read kipling but i'm remind you of his poem on the
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frontier. he begins it with describing it with display that british determination that one has to be educated, extensively before you're reguarded as qualified to face the foe or reckon, or fit to face the foe. but then he describes, the border station, a canter down some dark defile, 2,000 pounds of education drops to a 10 rupee. and couple of lines later, strike hard who cares, and shoot straight when can. and the odds are on the cheaper man. and points out that -- that one sword not stolen from a camp will pay all of the school expenses, of any current scam. and nevertheless, these people who know no words of mood and tepses being blessed with perfect sight pick off our mess mates left and right. and something that -- that we
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should be painfully reminiscent of is his line, "with whom red hoords the hillsides teem and the troop ships bring us one by one at vast expense and time and steam." and -- his last line is -- the captives of our bow and spear are cheap. alas, as we are tear. my experience in government and if life, and absolutely supports kipling's judgment that the odds are on the cheaper man. and not an afghan experience, but an early experience with the failed 1980 man to rescue hostages that are, who were held in our embassy in iran and lots of military history reading -- has led me also to believe that the odds are on this simpler plan. our 1980's involvement in afghanistan against the soviets
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definitely put us on the side of the cheaper man. and it was very expensive. and even then for the soviets. with much -- with proximity to get and support their people in. and they had no requirement, or we had no requirement to recruit or train or transport or command the forces in afghanistan. at that time the the hillside team teemed with hoards that knocked to the flight. and muge ja had dean enabled their ancestors to pick off the mess mates left and right and our plan was simple and time proven, it was to make life so miserable and costly for the soviet that is they would pack up and leave. all we had to do was provide guns and a ammunition and a
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surprisingly small amount of cash to the teaming hoards. we required help from pakistan and several other states and did operate a relatively long and expensive supply line. but our challenges were cheap and simple compared to the soviets. just as an aside i think we have strongly and justifiably criticized for not picking up the more complex and costly in a long run job of postconflict development in the soviets life. the result was afghanistan decaying further into chaos, and in which the taliban were the only option. they brought security. they brought protection to the people of afghanistan. and they managed to conquer it, not through fighting but through negotiation. and that was as they moved through the country. and -- as ugly as it was, they did provide security and protection to the people.
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except for themselves. and i'm -- until they went the way of every recent political force in afghanistan. they became more repacive and uglier in all and the people of afghanistan welcomed us and nato forces when we returned in 2001. i believe that our failure since 2001 is less of being diverted than it is of being mired down in expense and complexity. in the very beginning the game of let you and him fight, was played to our detriment. so sir chase has a good job in her book, the punishment of virtue describing how -- how the -- the -- the appointment of the governor of kandahar was
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frustrated. and the president of -- of afghanistan newly appointed, had appoint whad he believed or whom he believed to be the right men and certainly had thee -- the twrible and military force or para military force behind him to take the job. the u.s. special forces on the other hand, got engaged in appointing a tribal rival because we lost that game of let you and him fight. and all he had to do, the tribal office was point -- and call taliban to the other guy. our continued complexity and costs, we -- we -- we need reform or transformation. and that -- of pakistan in order to succeed. the soviets needed to transform afghanistan society in order to succeed.
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the taliban and our other enemies do not need to trans form this society. and right now, as bruce pointed out, the leader of the government we're seeking to develop is providing at best lukewarm support to our reform agenda. and there are those that complain that he's actively instructing it. our plan still and increasingly depends on long and expensive supply lines. and bruce's comment about a million dollars a year per soldier, there's an often quoted number which i have been trying to verify, but it is quoted often enough that it has become a cultural truth that it costs $400 per gallon. for every bit of fuel that is put into a -- into a truck. headed for kandahar. we have to maintain cooperation with neighboring states that have mutually incompatible
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interests. forget pakistan, pakistan and india are both vigorously pursuing programs that each of them believes is important for the other. and pakistan has many reasons to believe that our aims and theirs in afghanistan are in conflict. and not all of the reasons are legitimate. ill legitimate. our efforts to develop a core of people that have the language and the cultural understanding that they could have this intimacy are being frustrated. we have just been treated to the -- the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff rebuking the service chiefs because they were unable to come up with one fourth of the required 900 members of an enviss visioned afghan pakistan exert tis course. we are being dragged in -- police after place in afghanistan in a game of let's
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you and him fight. and -- the christian minority in -- in afghanistan is -- is increasingly being led to believe or -- believes that -- we're supporting a civil war. on behalf of other ethnic groups. a visit to camp baker in downtown kabul and a walk in the embassy where most wallets were full of pictures of ahmad would indicate i think wrongly but still it is a visible sign to -- to any christian walking around that -- we're on the other side. and let me go back again to my sources of intimacy. and wreck mend to you, sara chase's book -- the punishment of virtue. and she spent a good bit of her life in the last eight years.
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the book centers on this, the incident which i described where u.s. special operators blocked karzai's planned governor for kabul but she interweaves into it a very well written and interestingly -- history that is well written and well organized and -- and based on a lett of her own research with the original sources, a second reading -- rell important understanding of the country can be gotten from joel's book the opium season. and that details a year in which he was involved in a -- as a -- subcontractor in u.s. a.i.d. efforts in 2004 and 2005 to provide alternative livelihoods, to -- to draw away the work force from opium production. and it gives a great view of the violence and corruption and this complex tribal and world
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relations. and moreover, it shows the bureaucratic prove fit tiering and dysfunction that -- is -- is increasing the complexity and cost of our involvement, not just in war but in -- in development. a third source and it is outstanding if you want to understand the country is roshy stewart, wo within weeks after the fall of the taliban walked from iraq to kabul in the winter, which is supposed to kill you. and pushed in villages and described that experience in a way i think any soldier or diplomat or any development expert must read before he goes and attempts to understand afghanistan. in in terms of policy prescriptions, interestingly these three people who can be
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accused of an intimate understanding are not yet advocates of cut and run. they're prescriptions as peter has pointed out, and as bruce has pointed out, are based on the requirements to provide security if the people of afghanistan. sadly now that security must not only be from the taliban or from warlords, but the security must be from the organizations of the state that we're seeking to -- to, toed a and stabilize. and rory's comment. am i running out of time? okay. that we do have a possibility for more realistic afford andable and therefore sustainable process that would not make afghanistan stable or predictable. and it would merely be a small,
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if necessary part of an afghan political strategy. and u.s. allies, u.s. and its allies would only moderate influence and fund the strategy shaped and led by afghans themselves. we got to come up with way to do that simply. and that simplicity -- has to be based on an intimate understanding of these folks, so that we could stop losing the game of let's you and him fight. looking forward. and the next 18 months. i don't believe and i'm late to this, that we ought to cut and run. and if you asked me a few months ago, i would have said get out. i do believe that we must transform ourselves. and we have got some how to get to the point where we could afford this involvement, the -- notwithstanding the polls and in afghanistan, and polls in the united states. and they indicate that we have a
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very limited time. with which we could continue to invest blood and pressure. we have to address the structural problems, i don't know if we could do this. the way that we have gone to war, there are -- there are thick field manuals and regulations, army regulations, on how to deal with contractors on the battlefield. united states agency for international development no longer has anybody, i think, or very few people who actually go out and run a project. and everyone in the agency interacts with a contractor. and i am on acontract to the office -- of myself. the office of secretary of defense. it is i think a well conceived and well executed program. it costs at least three or four times what it would cost if government employees were carrying it out.
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our own political system is not going to be changed in the coming years but it is one of the incompetencies with which we have to -- we have to struggle. i -- profoundly believe that the president's -- the president's ability to reformulate strange in the last few months was -- was ham. ered almost to the point of impossibility by the other side. failing never to -- to pick up the comingal that you and your campaign describe this as got war. and now, you know, make it a good one. never fail to pick up the comingal if you're not listening to your generals. i must say that -- the last administration was similarly beat about the head and neck and shoulders by the democratic party as it tried to -- to -- to form hate a -- a policy. and the partisan shots are not
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just unseamly, -- unseemly, they're innerve vating. one of the other things, that was pointed out n our effort to reduce opium production in afghanistan, or ham. ered by u.s. agricultural interests that won't let us promote the production of cotton. and got to fix it. getting down to it now. two things that we have got to address, in order to simplify this. i think we got to get outside of the box, and bruce and peter have said you got to solve this in a regional way. and some opportunities are arising. and interestingly, csic -- csis said our ability to create an
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alternative path through es beck stan are creating relationship that is play contribute to a modern silk road for development in the region. i'll go back to my original point of humility as time goes on, i am less confident in my ability to provide policy prescriptions. i can only say that the ones we're trying to carry out now are far too complex and far too costly to succeed in the time that we have available. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you for inviting me here. i want to start with a disclaimer. i completely agree with frank. the more i learn from -- from personal scorpse, and from the extent -- extensive studies on
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affinging a, the -- afghanistan, the less i know. with that in mind, i hope you'll indulge me and perhaps -- listen to -- when i have to say. and first of all, we're not dealing with a war. we're dealing with -- with two wars. and when nobody -- one nobody really talks about. the one that is probably the most important and they cannot disconnect it, and they're independent r independent of each other, the one nobody talks about is the war fought here in washington d.c. within the beltway. and this will have far more impact on whatever is happening in afghanistan than probably what is happening in afghanistan itself. and because this war is fought on the field of exaggeration and hiss steeria and terms that actually hide the reality on the drowned in afghanistan. it is driven by naked political ambition. and that's rather than the
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national interests. and it lives to -- leads to strange bed folios as we see right now where the president has more support with the republicans than with his own party. and what is the surge going to do? well, the surge is going to increase opposition to the war as we have seen already. and -- and not only within this country but also within europe where of course our nato allies are delight there with us and of course, just like frank mentioned, that gives us limited time to do something. because with the surge, we're going to see an increased number of deaths, we going to see the images of body bags being thrown back. and that -- that -- the number of deaths, not just our words but the number of deaths of after fwans will paradoxly
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increase the domestic terrorism, both in this country and in the west. because of the moral outrage. i can only refer you to wapped two months ago, with major hassan killing people in fort hood. so, in a sense, the surge paradoxly and ironically will accelerate our withdrawal from afghanistan, searble by 2012 because it is going to be a huge issue in the -- in the presidential election. and of course, much of it will depend in what -- what will happen in our election 10 months from now, to see how much the democrats are going to lose in congress. okay. enough about washington d.c. what about afghanistan itself?
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well, there are four issues. and they are not totally linked and in a sense, they have some independence. it is afghanistan of course, and pakistan and taliban and al qaeda. and i don't really have the time to get into pakistan because of limited time. but it probably will depend on internal factors within pakistan. and in tems of afghanistan, let me repeat several times, we do not have any vital interests in afghanistan. period. we do not have any vital interests in afghanistan. except for the domestic and national security. that is why we are in afghanistan, as a matter of fact we're looking closely to yemen right now. 10 years ago, we would have been looking at saddam.
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so you can see and we're looking closely at somalia, so you could see we do not have any vital interests in afghanistan itself, except for domestic national security interests. okay. that's it. that leads to the next question. what is the threat here in the united states or in the west? well, i have done a comprehensive stur vai with al qaeda like plots, successful and unsuccessful in the west, until like 20 years since the creation of al qaeda. and there have been no -- no al qaeda reinsurgents, as trumpeted as three years ago by even some people on this panel. there have been only two-plus in the last three years, linked to al qaeda. that's tommy in denmark in september 2004 and proudly, in new york. and there have been no fatality
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in the west linked to al qaeda in nearly five years in the west. if you look at the plots, 80% are home grown without relationship to any terrorist organization. and those -- those that has some relationship to a terrorist organization, it is no longer the al qaeda, it is other groups. . . @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ rh@ @ @ @ ã and now al-shabab, the fellow who tried to kill the cartoonist in denmark last week. the arabic peninsula, the underwear bomber, and people always are afraid of the aqim in
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north africa. so there are a few afghans in al qaeda and almost no outsiders in afghanistan. afghanistan. if have any connection to terrorist groups in the west in the last eight years we see that nine, e, and i repeat none, are traced back to afghanistan. those that i trace back to groups until this past year were all traced back to pakistan and now yemen in somalia. so in order to actually promote national security here we need to focus on the group that can project to the west, and there is a group that i just mentioned. the afghan insurgents do not project to the west. they have a domestic agenda.
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okay. afghanistan, well, to disrupt, dismantle, defeat al qaeda and its allies. well, this is mostly done for the destruction and dismantling in afghanistan. they have moved to the center, as pointed out by bruce. so we have succeeded on part of that. we have not defeated al qaeda. al qaeda is not dead, as was shown last week by the killing of the cia officers in khost. okay. so what is the surge going to do for us? it is going to be very uneven. it will depend on the implementation of what we do, and it is going to vary according to the locality in afghanistan. it is not going to be different. so some of them will be good,
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and those, of course, will be trumpeted in washington. and those that will be bad will be trumpeted in washington because you have two camps. we are going to muddle through. what we really should be able to do is to isolate the foreigners, mainly al qaeda from the locals especially from the taliban. this is much easier than defeating the taliban. now that we are in afghanistan what is our goal there? i will put it to you our goal as threefold. they are all political. one is to provide security. second is to help them develop good governments. and third to stimulate the economy. okay. so let's look at each one in turn. in terms of security, i believe the surge will improve security and, perhaps, it may even
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temporarily actually prevent a civil war within afghanistan. in terms of good governance, well, and what i mean by good governance? good governance that is a provision of administration to provide justice. something the taliban fairly well, actually, which is why it had some popularity and now people reminisce with about that despite what peter says. the only thing they don't like the taliban, that they did like the fairness and the lack of corruption. fair dispute resolution and defeat the corruption and nepotism that you find that is paralyzing any local initiative. unfortunately for us, this is up to the afghans to do. we, you know, we cannot impose
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our institution from the top. from my own experience with the afghan, and i was in contact very intensively with them day-to-day for three years, you realize the limits of your power with them. you can really control them. you can -- and you know, i had a lot of cash to really give them so you can see the limits of your influence on the afghans. so you can, you know, in a sense push them gently in that goal. and so we have to be very cognizant of our own limitations of what we can do because this is a very much an afghan issue. third, we need to stimulate their economy. that means they have to develop jobs and a sense of purpose. and this is dependent on good
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leadership, which, of course, is absent. their leader has little legitimacy because of the disaster of the hichele actually can provide. so this actually led me to go back and review what soviet policy was in afghanistan for ten years. this has been bad-mouthed so far in this panel. i was on the other side. i wasn't intimately involved in running the war against the soviets for three years. so don't have to underestimate your enemy. the whole point i'm trying to put to you is we should not repeat their mistakes. we should learn from their mistakes. and what did the soviets have? the soviets had an advantage. they were dealing with a less-corrupt afghan government and they were dealing with actually fairly strong.
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actually a fairly effective president and non-corrupt. and they did not have any pressure from domestic protests because they basically hid the body bags. they did not tell the population how many people lost during the war until after the war. they were very careful about that. nobody could mention afghanistan. they actually developed a fairly efficient and effective counter insurgency doctrine after 1986. they learned from their mistakes. and what they did is exactly what we are suggesting right now, which, to me, was a surprise because it was fairly sophisticated. they were preaching national reconciliation and achieved quite a bit of success with it. they withdrew from the
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countryside, consolidating the cities, and provided security in the cities and the roadways for most of the time they were there. i know because i was very frustrated trying to disrupt that security from my side. they encourage armed local militias in order to kind of frustrate me and my colleagues, the mujahideen at the time. there were pretty good. they also had a fairly decent administration for justice, and they built roads. they built schools. they built factories. they built hospitals. that sounds really familiar. well, what did that give them? that give them a decent interval of three years from the time
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that they withdrew to the time when najibullah fell. lasted as long as the money and the support flow from the soviet union. najibullah fell within months afterwards. how about the international coalition? well, we have some advantage for the soviets. the war was very unpopular with the soviets. we have professional soldiers, and the morale is much higher than the soviet army. we don't have that a superpower on the other side supporting the resistance. there is no stingers. can you imagine what would happen right now if the taliban had stingers to shoot down our helicopters? it would be a disaster. and we have not killed as many civilians as the soviets did. they probably killed close to a million people, which, you know,
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earned them tremendous, tremendous inpopularity, as pointed out by peter. so what is going to happen in 18 months? well, in 18 months we are applied to withdraw mostly by 2012 because of the election, secondary to the war within the beltway. we will increase security in afghanistan, but the question mark is will that security be enough to allow the afghans to take responsibility for the future and develop their own country? that is really the key issue. i'm fairly pessimistic because it depends on having a good afghan partner, and right now i don't think we have it yet. karzai lacks legitimacy, and he's unpopular in this country. so this really will depend on
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achieving security, which i think is achievable, good governance, which is a big question mark, and of course, with good governance comes, you know, with our own money investment for jobs, jobs, jobs. without jobs, jobs, jobs afghanistan will not be a positive scenario in the future. but saying that, i must conclude by pointing out that this is not going to affect our domestic national security. as we see with the last three plots the underwear bomber came from yemen -- well, was helped in yemen. came from nigeria and london. the attack on the danish cartoonist came from somalia.
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and major hasan came from washington, d.c. thank you very much. [applauding] [inaudible conversations] >> peter has to leave at 11:00, so he should take the first few questions. there is a microphone in the back of the room for anyone who would like to ask a question. [inaudible conversations] >> my name is mustafa malik. i work some 30 years as a journalist in the united states. i retired two years ago. my question is for peter bergen specifically.
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what i hear now in this seminar and the last few is exactly what i was hearing before the last war. and the premise was that we will be able to. we will have democracy. now it is an islamic system. there is -- have you really tested the hypothesis somewhere that we are not the soviets, afghan people love us. and one last point i want to make. i am told that the other speaker
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was comparing afghanistan, our presence in afghanistan to soviet presence in afghanistan. they were doing is exact same thing that we are trying to do. i would just mention that i was born in india. the british were doing the same thing. built roads, schools. the blessings of western civilization. >> what's the question? >> my question is, are we not doing the same thing as our colonial imperial power did and failed believing their own premise? i visited twice pakistan over the last three years. i exactly heard them say this is the same jihad against foreigners that we fought in the
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1980's now against americans. >> okay. thank you, mustafa. we have it. are we making the same mistakes as the soviets? are we making the same mista@@ >> the difference is like night and day. it is important to remember that 1.5 million afghans were killed by the soviets, 5 million of them became refugees. it was the largest refugee population in history at the time. the soviets left the most heavily mined country and the world. to compare this to what is happening today is really not very good history. on the issue of is it similar to what we are doing in iraq in 2003, i think a more relevant question is what are the
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similarities and dissimilarities to where we were in iraq when the surge was a question of great interest to policymakers. in 2003, i think a more relevant question is what are the similarities to what we were when the surge was of great interest to policymakers and the rebels in the country. i think about the research. the iraq surge was just doubling down on a bad debt. part of the reason i opposed was a lack of knowledge. the iraq surge went into probably one of the nastiest civil wars in recent modern history. the ministry of the interior at the time was actually a shii death squad. now matter how bad the afghan situation right now it is not involved in a major civil war for is the government essentially a sectarian entity as the government of iraq was at the time. so actually the surge is going into a much better situation than existed in iraq. and just addressing the american
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domestic, americans don't care -- let me rephrase that. americans are much more casualty averse than most people suspect. there is very good academic data. what americans don't like is losing. when they're losing in iraq the war was very unpopular. it is almost a non-issue now and is seems to be someone stabilizing. so if the surge, as mark says, brings more security and americans feel like progress has been made, the casualties that come with that are going to be dealt with in a way that politically they will be handled. you may recall the worst months of the war in iraq were six months after the surge were 120 americans were being killed every month. as the situation stabilized the american domestic political scene changed. i think you will see the same thing with afghanistan. >> hi. i am susan cornwell.
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this is a question for bruce riedel. >> can you direct your questions to peter. >> go ahead. >> it is for everyone, but especially -- are you concerned that, it is for anyone who wants to comment on it frankly. are you concerned that this recent focus on yemen will result in dwindling support for the one afghanistan, especially here on capitol hill. i would also be interested to hear how you, sort of, assess this threat from yemen, and what you think is some kind of direct u.s. military intervention t hinkable there? >> i'll answer the last one. anyone who wants to put a direct u.s. military intervention into yemen needs to have their head examined. [laughter] we have got enough on our plate as it is.
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we don't need a third war in the middle east. we have enough on our plate. we don't need a third war in the middle east. the experience of foreign armies in yemen, most recently the egyptians, got to be one that cautions anyone who thinks there is a made in america solution to the problem of the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. outside in the arabian peninsula has become a more powerful and more dangerous foe in the last year as the direction of osama bin laden. the al qaeda cells in saudia arabia which have been badly repressed, effectively repressed by the saudis merged with the al qaeda cells in yemen. it proved to be quite a smart strategic move. they seem to have benefited from the interaction between the two. they seem to have found a very
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clever bomb maker. he may have failed on his two attempts. one on the deputy administrator of interior last august, and the second on the flight from amsterdam to detroit. but i would bet on him failing every time. if that bomb had gone off properly on that flight to detroit we would have had a catastrophic incident. the president quite rightly put it the other day, we dodged a bullet. i think in the side of his own head he knows something even more important. he dodged a catastrophic bullet. we will have to apply to yemen in a reasonable amount of effort to try to assist a very weak partner, allah, to focus on the outside in the arabian peninsula. we still have no illusions about his partner.
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his enthusiasm for the mission is not limited. he has a lot else on his plate. if we give him the support, if we provide the intelligence support can be brought under control. the larger question was we should they now be diverted from pakistan to yemen? i don't think so. mark and i disagree on some of the particular. i think we come down on the same bottom-line. the most dangerous threats over the last several years have all originated out of pakistan. certainly the most dangerous threat of them all, the failed attempt in august of 2006 to down multiple airliners over the atlantic was based in pakistan. barack obama inherited a reality that we were at war in afghanistan. we don't have a time machine. we can't go back and redo this war the right way. we are in it now.
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what happens in that war will have a tremendous impact across borders, which is the far more important strategic prize in this conflict. >> from voice of america. i have a question for peter bergen. as we heard in this meeting and the media always commented that most of the pashtun areas, they don't have security. they don't get reconstruction. and little economic. and also i read in one of the reports last year from one of the provinces only one person went to kabul. so if the situation continues this will be in the benefit of taliban or al qaeda. what can we do to transform, to separate mainly pashtuns who
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feel that they are marginalized in the government and include them in this process of security and economic development and good government? thank you. >> one thing that afghanistan lacks is effective pashtun political parties. right now you're a stuck between a choice between karzai and the taliban. my understanding is that hamid karzai has been -- this is not something is. perhaps, in the next five years you will have pashtun political parties that emerge that represent an alternative that isn't necessarily the taliban. obviously the questioner is complete right. pashtuns feel excluded from the benefits, central benefits of the afghan national policy, but i do not think the most important good we can deliver is security. let me give you one benchmark
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that is a useful one that is very observable in the next 18 months. was the most dangerous road between baghdad city airport and baghdad. very likely to be killed if you drove down it. the fact that was the most dangerous for in the world said everything you needed to know about iraq. the kabul to kandahar, it went seven hours in 2005 and 2006. if anybody today you'd be signing your own death warrant. this is the most important for a politically and economically. it would be very observable in the next 18 months of it returned to a road that actually could be used. that would be a sign of real progress. that is the kind of thing that most pashtuns want. that road connects the pashtun capital to the national capitol. that is the sort of thing in the
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new surge will deliver. that is something we can. >> do you mind if i ask you a quick question? peter, before you leave, how would you respond to the -- how would you respond to vital u.s. interest in afghanistan when it general johnson said there are probably only 100 al qaeda members there? in response to what mark was arguing. >> well, there 200 members of al qaeda on 9/11. so small numbers of people can effect history very greatly. i would make two points. talking about afghanistan without talking about pakistan is like pakistan without talking with israel or vice versa.
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lashkar-e-taiba doesn't recognize the border. al qaeda doesn't recognize the border. the border doesn't exist. and so to talk about afghanistan without reference to the fact that all these groups are in pakistan and headquartered there and go back and forth all the time is not right. you know, we cannot be -- the 82nd airborne or the 10th mounted is not about to invade pakistan. that's not going to happen unless there is a major attack. however, given that fact, what we are doing is a counter sanctuary, so that they don't also take over afghanistan. we have already run this videotape once before. that's why we're trying to do. ..
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>> that is not the number of attacks, it is the threat of attacks. if the planes plotter has succeeded, that would have been 1500 dead american, canadians and the british in the middle of the atlantic. so, al qaeda has a very -- is a group that is doing these attacks. major hasan killed 13 people. it is not a national-security problem. with that flight had been on 9/11-style event, or what it had been like pan am 103? i think it looks bigger. >> thank you. >> for many years, from this
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party -- they criticized the bush administration it for practicing diplomacy-free foreign policy. i want to ask about the diplomatic dimensions at other opportunities that may present themselves in this situation. number one, the critical aspect of afghanistan is the fact that it has spent a surrogate war between pakistan and india. that the support for al qaeda, taliban, and other elements in pakistan is oriented towards the fact that india is seen as exploiting afghanistan as a rear-flank in the conflict between india and pakistan. it seems that the indian government has recognized that there is a shift in pakistan and that the attacks that are going on against the internal g jihadi
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forces are a more serious factor. you saw the prime minister paul 30,000 troops out of kashmir recently. -- the prime minister of india polled 30,000 troops out of kashmir recently. and the chinese have a strong vested interest in dealing with the fact that there are certain bases of operations for the uigher network. i am wondering whether there are diplomatic aspects they go beyond the u.s.-nato cooperation. people will have invested interest in economic development long-term and solving these problems. the other thing i worry about is we are headed for in iran crisis that may change this equation radically.
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i wonder how much that has been taken into account in the deliberations on the afghan policy. what would be the implications of an israeli or larger military action against the run over the nuclear issue? thank you. @@@@b@@ >> the strategy the president outlined in march put that at the top of the agenda. we spent a lot of time talking about counterinsurgency. is the most expensive part. it is the part where body bags come calling. i believe there regional diplomatic card is more important to the long-term chances of stabilizing afghanistan and pakistan. if you look at the travels of richard holbrooke, you will see he has been on the case. he is going around and making the effort. how far he has succeeded, it is
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too early to tell. if you will recall, a year ago, the president spoke in a burden laid to "time" magazine about the importance of working the pakistani-indian dimension. i think he learned an important lesson from that. you cannot talk about that dimension. but it does not detract from the fact that it is vitally important. to change pakistani behavior, we have to do with the thing that drives pakistani behavior. and that india. that got a whole lot more trouble, more difficult, 13 months ago in mumbai when they probably with the assistance of al qaeda carried out that attack. why did they do that? precisely to make it more difficult to get a reduction in tensions between pakistan and india. the jihadists who we are fighting have understood from the beginning of this conflict that if you want to take -- if you want to take the heat off of
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them in pakistan, heat up the border between india and pakistan. that's why after we drove al qaeda and the taliban out of afghanistan in 2001, what do they do? they attacked the indian parliament. it was a brilliant tactical move that resulted in strategic space for them. in order to try to improve relations between pakistan and india, we have to do something that americans diplomacy is not good at. not talk about it, operate under the radar screen, and supportive of others, not try to have the stage all to ourselves. i'm not sure i'm there to diplomacy can do it, frankly. i don't think it's in our genes, but that's what we need to do. is the administration working on that, as i said at the beginning, i'm not a spokesman for the administration, but i would point you to one back. first, state visit dinner of this administration was with the indian leadership.
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because i think this administration understands exactly how important that is. now i realize most of you don't realize that that steak dinner included indians, because we have become obsessed with a couple from west virginia who showed up at the dinner, but fortunately in india, they do understand it was about the importance of the u.s. indian relationship. is it impossible? no, i don't think it's impossible. one of the most important journalistic articles i would say this last year, steve cole pointed out in "the new yorker" in an article about the back channel, that india and pakistan have actually come along way over the last several years in finding the bases for solution to their long-standing problems. they didn't find it. they have come a long way towards finding a. american diplomacy should have as its objective try to help indians and pakistanis get back to that back channel and to try to put this back on track. i won't say very much about
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russia, other than to say i think the amount of support we've gotten from the russians is not quite as high as you had hoped that we'd gotten from the russians so far. the chinese, i will unabashedly push the newspaper that the brookings institution is putting out this week on our website on how the united states and china should work together in order to try to improve the stability of pakistan. if pakistanis regard us as the unreliable ally, that's not usually the terminology they use, it's a little more colorful than that but i won't use it in this mixed audience. they regard china as the reliable ally. the all weather friends. we need to get the chinese involved in this in a big way. and on iran, you're absolutely right. if we enter in to a period of confrontation with iran now, the iranians will look for ways to hurt us.
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and the easiest way for the iranians to hurt us right now is obama's war right next door. the most prospers efficient and effective part of afghanistan today is around the city of karachi. because the iranians provide the electricity, the economic develop and help provide the security. they could change that overnight. if they wanted to. and as we think about how we go forward with iran, which first to admit, is a very serious national security problem for us, we have to think of it in this regional dimension. and have -- what we do with iran will affect the war in afghanistan. >> do you want to comment on the message was actually, no. i can't think of anything i would add. >> just to add a little extra dimension, namely the indian
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chinese dimension, which because since the chinese allied with pakistan and you have to look at it through the indian chinese connection as well. that of course complicates it even further. >> just one little point. i think on russia, bruce, russia promised us thousands of lives per year to deliver equipment, equipment for troops in afghanistan. as of november i think that permitted one. so there are 999 short, at least. >> frank anderson talked a bit about contractors, and just wanted to throw this question out to anyone. what do you think companies like blackwater, what role would they be playing in afghanistan? what are your thoughts on that?
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>> there was a bad ankle, but are you asking me about what role blackwater is playing in afghanistan? >> what role do you think, organizations like blackwater, what role do you feel like they will be playing in afghanistan? >> i think that one of our serious dysfunctions is that we organize ourselves in such away that what what our essential state functions are now performed by businesses. i can't think of any way that it makes sense, or that a nation should justify that its embassy in afghanistan, its embassies all around the world, are protected by businessmen. rather than a marine security guard when you approach the embassy in kabul, you go through
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a layer of afghan police. that's comforting. then a group i'm not a blackwater, but another american security company. and then you can turn left, and i don't even know which contractor covers the gate of the entity, or you can turn right into the international security in afghanistan. where you first go through another afghan commercial -- private security company, and then you're confronted by gates and barriers manned by the macedonians. it's just -- there's no way that we should have allowed ourselves to be deployed where we have to
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have businessmen performing essential state functions. i can't think of any, any other thing to say. and it's not just security, it's not just blackwater. it's -- be wrong for me to list individual companies, we have stopped doing the business of government. you know, government is now performed by businesses and i don't know how many more times it costs to have government function performed by businessmen, but i know it's at least two or three. >> do you see there will be an increase in this type of involvement? or do you see there will be an increase in this type of involvement, or will it be the same or will it be different than what we did in iraq? >> fixing this would require revolutionary change. we have, over the last 30 or 40 years, privatize function after function after functions.
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with the idea, it was once an ideological view from one political party, that business is essentially more efficient than government. looking at those around the room who have been in government and then in business, and my personal expenses, it just doesn't play out. bureaucracy is inefficient. you know, if you get 50 people in a business, it's going to become inefficient. because you've got businesses. it's not going to be more or less efficient than 50 people and the government. we have increasingly chosen not to employ government people, and i suppose it makes sense, that you privatize the snowplowing function in the city of washington. i think it makes less sense that
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you privatize the analysis of intelligence. i think it is obscene that you privatize the application of violence. >> if i could just add, i fully agree with everything frank has said. the irony is, as we outsource all of these government functions, particularly in the intelligence community, we just built a larger and larger intelligence community bureaucracy with more and more layers of review, more and more people who are reading contracts every day. and overseeing contractors are rather than doing their jobs. we now have more institutions in the intelligence community than we've ever had before. the best example of that, look at the picture of the president meeting with his intelligence, so-called intelligence advisers in the white house two days ago. how many people were in that room? who's the sheriff? we've got a huge posse of
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bureaucrats. who's in charge? >> my name is olli, and i'm working in the middle east and north africa. i would like, since i am here in the middle east policy council and good number of people who really intelligence policymaking, in the larger picture, and the macro picture of the nazi's relationship with the muslim world, aren't we really in a way becoming hostage to two smaller groups, and outside in the muslim world come al qaeda does not represent even one, thousand or half a thousand of the one point half billion muslims. and in the united states, we have very strong group which really influence the policy of the nine states that creates problems for us in the middle
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east and other places. as policymakers, where is our national interest and who is guarding it lacks many questions are in the muslim street when i go there as an american. but as an american muslim. and icy they may accept me as, you know, brother in faith sometimes but the lashing as an american for our policies, everywhere from nigeria, sudan and other places. so my question to you, you know, this good gathering, how can we get out of this mess? and where can we build a relationship that will protect the vital interests of our society here, without sacrificing a good relationship with the larger scope of the muslim world.
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>> it is an ideological question about whether or not terrorism should be addressed as a crime or a geopolitical military issue. it's unpopular, or it has been. it's becoming less unpopular to recognize it as a crime. not -- the way that you have to do with terrorism is the way you have to deal with murder and narcotics, and bank fraud. in our system, if you want to prove a crime, you have to prove motive, means, and opportunity. if you want to prevent a crime, you need to figure out a way to attack motive, means, and opportunity.
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we have selected to go to@@@@@@r >> we have continued in war in ways and another that have very limited effect on the terrorists means. we have done a pretty good job. and we have certainly invested a lot. -- in reducing opportunity. al qaeda and other terrorists are clever, and they have done a fine job from their point of view of overcoming barriers, but we are a much more secure nation. it is a much more secure world. it is tougher to be a terrorist now than it was before. we have reduced opportunity. it is not soft.
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it is not surrendering to the enemy to recognize that we have to address motivation. motivation. to the extent that terrorists are motivated to act against us by our policies, we have to question whether or not the policies are sufficiently important or positive value to us, that we opt not to adjust. if they are, we fight, you know, you addressed the terrorist by attacking it means. people who want the second president bush made a good point. there are some people in the world who are angry with us because of what we do. there are others who hate us because of what we are. those who are angriest with us because of what we do, we have to make a choice. do we adopt policies that respond to their anger? or do we decide that our
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policies are important enough to us that we're going to persist in them, and then deal with their anger through reducing means and opportunity. to that limited number of people, those who are associated with al qaeda and others, they are not angry with us because of what we do. no matter what they say. you know, they hate us because of what we are. and it isn't that we are democratic. it's just that we are what we are. you know, but we are richer, we are more comfortable, we are more powerful, we are loud and brash. and therefore, they want to kill us. our only opportunity with those people is to hunt them down and kill them. with everybody else, i think there are opportunities to improve our position with them and with us addressing motivation, what are our policies, means, cut down their
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ability to maintain finance, reduce their safe havens. reduce the personnel come and certainly opportunity apply security across our infrastructure and our society. >> bruce and mark, could you comment on that? do you think that if we were -- can we take their arguments away from them? if we want to help a palestinian state come into being, if we were to have a lighter military footprint in the persian gulf, that over the horizon capability, if we address the grievances they articulate, would that make a difference or not? >> i think it would decrease the probability of terrorist act is not going to take them away. there will always be not content. so don't be too naïve, that we are going to really put an end to it that terrorism is here to stay. not just this type of mujahideen
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terabit it'll be ecological terrorism. it was terrorism for years ago. there's always malcontent. we're never going to leave. utopia where everybody is happy. but that being said, it's also, in a sense, aggravated by what i call the first war within washington, where people know this issue for naked political ambition. because it happens to be very popular with voters. it's the same thing as being tough on crime. i agree with frank dierker iq terrorism as crime as well. but you know, everybody is kind of rushing to say i'm tougher than my opponent on crime. because it is very popular. and so the domestic agenda will always drive the foreign agenda.
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and so if you have foreigners who, stupidly, listen to what we say, they are going to be upset because what we say, i would target argue it is a domestic audience. and that's going to always resonate domestically, but of course, it's going to really put us at a disadvantage of broad. >> my answer to question is yes, it would make a great deal of difference. if the united states looks at the motivations and the dynamics, that lie at the heart of the appeal of al qaeda in the islamic world, the arab-israeli conflict, the sense of alienation over what happens in palestine, has always been one of al qaeda's strongest recruiting mechanisms. if you look at the lives of the leaders of al qaeda, osama bin
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laden, and especially auzere, it's all about the israeli arab confit. bear in mind something heller. there in state come in here i think we're in the same place, frank, mark and i comment is not a just and lasting peace. there in the state is the elimination of israel. we're never going to convince them through our actions to change. , but we can affect in which they recruit and operate. i suspect in the next day or so we are going to see a martyrdom video tape or a martyrdom will of some sort from the man who attacked, and i suspect that he will talk a lot about the zionist crusader alliance and who he was fighting. we should not succumb to the argument that trying to take
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away these motives is somehow appeasing the enemy. the arabs israeli conflict has become a threat to the national security of the united states of america, and we must recognize it as a threat to the national security interests of the united states of america. the president made a very good start in cairo. the devil is in the details. i think i can say with some authority, that trying to get israelis and palestinians to agree on anything is a lot harder to do in the real world than it is to do in the think tank world. but that doesn't diminish the absolute importance of the administration pursuing this. countering the narrative and ideology of al qaeda has to deal with the issues that al qaeda says it self are the essence of
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its appeal. talking about it is a good first step. following through is absolutely imperative. >> bruce, i agree 100 percent with what you said. >> i am robin walker. bruce, you mentioned this briefly but since we have decades of experience you with the cia out that i would ask you guys for your analysis of the bonding. what does it mean that we were taken by jordanian double or triple agent? what does it mean that two of the people killed were blackwater employees, or former blackwater employees? just your analysis on that, please. >> well, my two colleagues that more time on the dark side of the cia than i did. so i may be the least qualified to discuss this. first of all, we don't know what happened yet. we have various, scanty press reports. but let's assume it was some
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kind of triple, double agent or whatever he is, a quadruple agent. to me, one of the most interesting things is what was it that he was bringing to the table? as far as we can tell from the press accounts, and i stress, we only have press accounts that we don't really know what happened. he was bringing to the table some really big bait. the location specifics on where we would find high-value target, number two. we haven't had that in eight years. that was huge bait. now, i'm not going to comment about the wisdom of the tradecraft of the people involved are. i think they paid the ultimate price for whatever mistakes they made. but i can understand that if that was indeed the bait, this was a big, big operation.
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>> i guess i can only add a little, but confirm a law to what bruce has said. like bruce, i only know what's been in the press. and i'm actually comforted that the leaks on past events have not been repeated. we don't know everybody that was killed. but things that came out indicate that this was a double or triple operation, and as bruce said, accomplishing that is difficult. one of the things that you have to do in a double agent operation, which is one in which you sent someone pretending to be a source into your enemy so that that person can either act or learn enough to be to your
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interests by giving you more information than you give up. but you've got to give up information. it's called feedstock. you have to give up intelligence. this operative or person, if the press is to be believed, gave up a lot over time. and develop confidence on the part of the cia, or perhaps it was the jordanian service that was handling it, a member of the jordanian royalty on it, tragically among the dead. . . >> to some extent, it may be the case that it expert --
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inexperienced played a role. the chief of space was on her first overseas assignment. -- the cheiief of base was on her first overseas assignment. every time the organization grows, it is growth pangs. you get a lot of people doing what ever they are doing for the first time. i once had boss scream about a friend at the same no one should be the cheapest station for the first time. chief of station for the first time. it could have very well been experience, it could have been mistakes. i don't think other than the subject as we beat it to death so far means much that the people were killed were blackwater. they should have been government employees. they weren't. what is means is that in this war if we want to get time on
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zawahiri and someone is bringing us information that sacrifices, and i almost certainly did other targets into to get to this target, we might fall for that one again. >> let me add something to this. you know, i'm not a journalist. and, therefore, i don't usually comment on recent events. because it turns out, in my experience, that as the investigation unfolding with all of the hysteria happens to be wrong. and so let's not judge immediately what happened when you call it a double or triple agent or something that -- let's look at the facts on this one. this is a guy who had the reputation on the internet, was a very reluctant of the
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jordannians who was kind of sent reluctantly to the area in order to penetrate al qaeda. i don't think of him as a double agent so far. i think of him as a very reluctant recruit who probably fessed up to al qaeda when he met with them to say, look, we can turn this around. and he might have just been sent back. this is really a field operation from the start, it could be. so let's wait a little bit before we label it a double, triple, sophistication and so on. i >> a simple explanation is the best. let's wait until the investigation unfolds. >> from